VIDEO: What we learnt at SIHH - Day 3
In the watch industry the Salon International de Haute Horologerie (SIHH) is a big deal. Held every January in Geneva, this convention is put on by the timepiece brands that fall under the umbrella of the luxury goods goliath Richemont (plus a few other independents).
This year sees the 27th edition of the watch fair and its biggest one yet, so we sent our man to camp out at the show for its duration so that we can get an on-the-ground, daily round-up of FIVE things we learnt on Day 3:
1. It's my party
The anniversary is an age-old newsworthy banker when it comes to watch conferences. In fact, most marketing-obessed watchmakers now tend to revamp their collections in five year cycles so that each year is an anniversary of some type. Clearly, some are more weighty than others, and this year Piaget’s output at SIHH is based around the 60th anniversary of its Altiplano watch. The ultra-thin watch has been a stalwart for the brand and this year sees the release of two new limited editions to the collection - both in 18k white gold and available in 38mm and 43mm). Naturally, with its impossibly-thin thinness the 43mm is powered by the automatic calibre 1200P which is a mere 2.35mm high.
2. Tire tracks
Thanks to the advent of tech companies, the term disrupt has become very popular these days. A decade or so ago, the idea of disrupting the tradition-obsessed watch world would be frowned upon, but with the success of brands like Roger Dubuis it is now praised at the very highest levels. ‘Disruptive materials’ is theme of the Geneva-based watchmaker for 2017. Releasing 5 new models (all in its Excalibur range including 3 world exclusives) at SIHH it's been busy. If we had to pick one it would be brand's new partnership with tire-maker Pirelli. As the official tire provider of Formula 1, Pirelli is in a class of its own when it comes to rubber development and has worked with Roger Dubuis to create rubber straps for the Excalibur Spider Double Flying Tourbillon made from the exact tires used by Lewis Hamilton’s Monaco Grand Prix-winning Mercedes from 2016. Now if you are one of the 88 people to drop CHF240,000 on one, then you will also be given private access to attend as many F1 races in 2017 as your heart desires.
3. Fair of wrist
Every year IWC picks out one of its families to focus on for the next 12 months. The past couple of years has seen it focus on the Big Pilot and Portuguese collections, and 2017 it is the turn of the female-focused Da Vinci collection. Yes, while the Swiss watchmaker will spend the next year trying to re-establish itself in the female market, it doesn’t mean that they have neglected us men either. The entry-level Da Vinci Automatic has a unisex appeal and for men with thin wrists, the 40mm solves the problem often found with larger men’s watches, and the leather alligator Santoni strap makes it a very elegant option. If you've grown accustomed to the higher end of IWC's output, fear not, the line also comes with a Chronograph piece and Perpetual Calendar
4. The Swiss REALLY love cheese
The Swiss are not exactly the kind of people who like to break stereotype - we are, after all, at a convention that celebrates the most Swiss of things: watches. The country is also famous for its love of cheese, and therefore it is not entire unconceivable (although it should be!) that someone has combined those two interests in the most interesting of ways. That's right, independent watchmakers H. Moser has created a watch made out of Swiss cheese. Costing US$21,500 the case of the watch is made from 100% cheese (which has been pasteurized so it doesn't stink). It houses a Swiss movement made in-house and comes with a cow skin strap. I wonder if it tastes like chocolate too?
5. Drive and the Panther
After the big launch of the Drive de Cartier men's watch last year, it makes sense that the luxury French brand will spend the next 12 months pridominately focusing on women - fyi, if you're looking for a present for your wife, the new Panthere is pretty darn special. But rather than turn than leave us cold turkey, Cartier did add a couple of new additions to the Drive collection: an extra flat and a moonphase version - we would recommed either, depending on which way on the pricing scale you want to go. What was more interesting is that in May 2017, the brand is releasing a special edition model (in steel with green roman numerals and alligator strap) specifically for the GCC market. The model is limited to 200 pieces and will be available ahead of Ramadan.